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Guide to Running a Security Dispatch Center

The inclusion of a designated security dispatch center is a necessity for nearly any modern security provider. As the essential hub for routine and emergency operations, today’s security dispatch center enhances productivity, increases safety, and conveys an organization’s dedication to professionalism. Gone are the days of security operations sharing space with the breakroom, storage area, or maintenance staff. To provide clients with quality service, the 21st-century security dispatch center must be properly equipped, staffed, and managed.

Security Dispatch Centers and the 24/7 Operation 

Security companies providing service for residential or commercial sites will find a multitude of benefits in an up-to-date dispatch center. Having a designated location to act as the operational headquarters helps maintain the mission-specific duties of the organization. Differing from the business function of the company, a security dispatch center allows the filed units and supervisors to focus on safety, threat analysis, and liability mitigation.  

With the inclusion of computer aided dispatching (CAD) software, the security operations center for residential or commercial locations can better manage calls for service, routine patrol, guard tours, and unexpected incidents with precision. Databases that include resident or tenant information can significantly improve customer service by allowing security dispatchers access to vital data when it is needed. For example, if a homeowner were to contact the security dispatch center to report a suspicious incident at a neighbor’s house, CAD would likely be able to provide responding officers with essential details.  Perhaps the suspicious incident was actually a scheduled maintenance visit or a guest of the homeowner. By having these details flagged in CAD for a particular address, a response may not be necessary as the dispatcher could dispel the caller’s concerns.

Peaks and Valleys for Security Dispatch Center Management  

Managing a security dispatch center for a site such as a sporting arena, convention center, college campus, or concert venue can involve both similarities and differences to that of the operations center of a residential community. The advantages found in a computer aided dispatch (CAD) software are largely universal to security providers regardless of location. From personnel management to call for service prioritization to interoperability with mobile technology, CAD’s use in a security dispatch center is a necessity for any safety operational mission. 

However, unlike residential or commercial properties, the security needs of specific venues often experience a peaks and valleys approach to providing services. Logic dictates a convention center’s security requirement will be different when hosting an event with tens of thousands of people than it will be on days when nothing is scheduled. Further, the needs will vary during the setup and break down periods for conventions as well as for major and minor renovations or maintenance projects. The same ebb and flow occurs in sports stadiums. Gameday will be vastly different than the offseason. Similarly, an amphitheater ‘s security needs are understandably enhanced, leading up and during a concert as opposed to when it is not in use.

With the changes in security needs, the operation of the security dispatch center must also be adjusted. Many venues will continue to have a smaller contingent of security personnel on-duty at all times, regardless of events. Ideally, and depending on the size and scope of the asset being protected, the officers in the field will be complemented with staff in the security dispatch center. 

As security professionals will attest, times often categorized as slow or when no event is scheduled, can remain a highly vulnerable period for many locations. Staffing the security dispatch center anytime there are guards on-duty provides enhanced officer safety and increased productivity. While the number of security personnel in the field or at the dispatch center will almost certainly be reduced during these non-event periods, their cohesive partnership remains vital. Assigning staff to the security dispatch operation center is as imperative to the operation as the officers in the field, on the floor, or in whatever location they are charged to protect. 

The Mobile Operations Center for Security Dispatch 

Security dispatch centers in residential communities, industrial/commercial settings, or event-specific sites such as convention centers and sports stadiums tend to have permanent locations. That is to say, the dispatch centers for these assets are usually in a dedicated room. They are often situated with a tactical advantage: hardened entry protections, beneficial viewpoints, as well as backups for power and computer systems.

However, not all security functions take place in the same location. Often, the venue to be protected changes regularly. For instance, a security company may be contracted to provide services during a multi-state concert tour. The security dispatch center may be in a vehicle or in a temporary usage room at a county fairground, city park, or similar setting. It is in these fluctuating conditions that professional management of the dispatch center is especially imperative. All of the benefits of the permanent location operations center may not be found with a mobile command post. Nevertheless, professional security companies can leverage modern mobile technology and still provide a full service, state-of-the-art security dispatch center regardless of the location. 

Additional Considerations for Security Dispatch Centers

Ultimately, running an effective security dispatch center involves a multifaceted approach. The primary focus of this article has been to demonstrate the importance of determining the size and scope of the venue, as mentioned, and to provide a brief introduction in the use of CAD in a security setting. However, additional considerations are equally significant. 

The heart of nearly any successful business venture begins with its personnel. Recruiting, hiring, and retaining are vital components to the security industry and certainly to the management of a dispatch center. Next, on-going, relevant, and quality training is a necessity for maintaining a professional security staff. Finally, in addition to CAD, other uses of technology, along with quality equipment, furnishings, and environmental settings, can help maintain morale and ensure a partnership between dispatch staff, security officers, managers, and clients.


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